1000 SW Jackson Suite 230
Dennis Cooley, MD
April 23-27 is Playground Safety Week
Safe Kids Kansas recommends playgrounds with soft surfaces
Each year, more than 200,000 children in the United States are treated in emergency rooms for injuries involving playground equipment and approximately 10 die. Falls account for 80 percent of playground injuries; however, most playground fatalities are caused by strangulation and occur in a family’s yard, not on public property.
National Playground Safety Week is April 23-27, and Safe Kid Kansas joins the National Program for Playground Safety in urging parents and caregivers to help make sure children have safe places to play.
“Nothing can take the place of active supervision, but we do need to make sure our kids are playing in safe environments in the first place,” says Jan Stegelman, Safe Kids Kansas coordinator. “Playground equipment should be labeled with a minimum age, and it should be surrounded by a protective surface.”
Grass and soil are not good playground surfaces. “The ground should be covered 12 inches deep with shredded rubber, hardwood fiber mulch, pea gravel or fine sand, extending at least six feet in all directions around the equipment,” says Stegelman. “It won’t prevent falls, but it can prevent injuries or reduce their severity.”
Even nonfatal injuries from playground falls can be very serious. “A child who falls 10 feet is at risk of spinal cord injury, paralysis and death, and a child who falls about 5 feet is four times as likely to be injured as a child who falls from a lower height,” says Stegelman.
Parents and caregivers need to keep kids in sight and in reach on the playground. “Simply being in the same place as your child isn’t necessarily supervising,” says Stegelman. “Kids on a playground need your undivided attention.”
Safe Kids Kansas also reminds parents and caregivers to:
The Consumer Product Safety Commission handbook on playground equipment and surfacing is available at www.cpsc.org or 800- 638-2772. For more information about playground safety, visit www.usa.safekids.org.
Safe Kids Kansas, Inc. is a nonprofit Coalition of 67 statewide organizations and businesses dedicated to preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children ages 0-14. Local coalitions and chapters are located in Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Clay, Coffey, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Labette, Leavenworth, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Mitchell, Montgomery, Nemaha, Osage, Pottawatomie, Republic, Rice, Riley, Saline, Smith, Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Wilson and Woodson Counties, as well as the cities of Chanute, Emporia, Leavenworth, Norton, Pittsburg, the Wichita Area and the Metro Kansas City Area. Safe Kids Kansas a member of Safe Kids Worldwide , a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury.